MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— As University of Houston transfer Charles Sims continues mulling where to spend his senior season, West Virginia and Cal have emerged as the leaders to land the 2,300-yard career rusher.
Meanwhile, the details surrounding Sims’ departure at Houston remain cloudy, particularly after his January decision to pass up on the NFL draft and return to school.
“It was a total surprise,” said Joseph Duarte, college football writer for the Houston Chronicle, upon joining “SportsLine” on Monday night. “Here was a kid who was going to be the face of the program next season.”
Less than four months after Sims reassured Houston coach Tony Levine he would round out his stellar career with the Cougars, the running back reversed field two weeks ago and announced he was leaving UH. At that point, Sims said he was unsure whether he would transfer to another school with immediate eligibility or enter the NFL supplemental draft.
Duarte said the supplemental draft appears to be an unlikely option for Sims, considering he passed up the conventional draft.
Sims reportedly expressed an interest in transferring to Texas Tech only to have Houston block that move. The school’s release prohibited him from transferring to any school in Texas, or any member of the reconfigured American Athletic Conference, or any opponent on the Cougars’ 2013 schedule.
Sims has 158 career receptions, making him the NCAA’s active leader among running backs and a good fit for WVU, even though the Mountaineers appear sufficiently stocked in the backfield with junior college recruit Dreamius Smith and freshman signee Wendell Smallwood joining returnees Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison.
“He’s looking for a program where he can showcase himself,” Duarte said, “and West Virginia’s offense is tailor-made for him.”
The 6-foot, 205-pound Sims averaged 6.2 yards per carry over his three seasons in Houston. He ran for 29 touchdowns and caught eight more.